Helsinki-Tallinn tunnel: checking in with the world’s most ambitious rail link

Wednesday, June 5, 2019 - 00:00

Finnish entrepreneur Peter Vesterbacka’s vision for the Helsinki-Tallinn tunnel is an ambitious one, and he thinks he can get it built by 2024. Given that public feasibility studies have estimated completing the project in 2040, can this privately backed development secure approval from the Finnish and Estonian governments?

It seems there’s no limit to Peter Vesterbacka’s ambition. After spending six years as an executive for Espoo-based Angry Birds game developer Rovio and with several successful start-up conference businesses under his belt, the Finnish serial entrepreneur has for the last few years set his sights on a lofty goal: to build a 100km rail tunnel linking Helsinki in Finland with Estonian capital Tallinn. The link would run under the Gulf of Finland, which separates the two cities, making it the longest undersea tunnel in the world.

The idea of an undersea rail link between Tallinn and Helsinki is hardly brand new; Finnish geologists first studied the possibility of a tunnel back in 1993, but the concept has remained firmly on the drawing board for more than two decades. In 2014, the two cities commissioned a pre-feasibility study for a tunnel – dubbed the ‘FinEst Link’ – followed by a full feasibility study, which was published in February 2018.

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